Dust Allergy


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dust-allergy

Dust Allergy Dilemma

One of the most prevalent indoor air pollutants and the primary cause of a dust allergy falls into the big category simply called “dust particulate matter” or “dust particles.” If you were to classify many of the household airborne pollutants, they would fall into the general category of a dust particle.

We have all heard of household dust so you may be wondering, “What’s such a big deal about a dust particle?”


Well there are actually 3 big deals …

  1. The size of the dust particle
  2. The amount of airborne dust particles
  3. The type of dust particle

If a dust particle is very small we call this a sub-micron particle. A sub-micron particle can lodge deep within the lung tissues. If there are just a few of these sub-micron particles in the indoor environment it wouldn’t really be a big deal. However, extensive studies have proven that these sub-micron particles “by count” are more than 90% of the particles in any residential indoor environment. In fact, I have tested many homes over the years for sub-micron particles and have never found a count less than 90%; while most houses I have checked have been closer to 98%.

But what does this mean?

The answer is tied into the third point above . . . “The type of dust particle.”

There are many sub-micron dust particles in the indoor environment you just don’t want to breathe in every day.

Some of the more common dust particles which are known allergens include:

  • Dust mites
  • Dust mite feces
  • Mold spores
  • Broken-down pesticide dust
  • Broken-down dead insects
  • Bacteria from vacuum cleaner bags
  • Broken down tree and grass pollen
  • and more

People with chronic allergies, asthma or other respiratory problems probably have some level of a hypersensitivity (allergic response) to one or more of these allergens found in house particles. The key to controlling a dust allergy is limiting the amount of these sub-micron dust particles floating in the air of your home.

HEPA To The Rescue

A HEPA vacuum used regularly will drastically reduce the amount of these airborne dust particles over time. By combining the use of HEPA air purifiers in the main rooms of the home along with weekly vacuuming, your should notice a marked improvement in your indoor air quality and dust related allergy symptoms.

About the author: Stan K. Hall a.k.a. The Sick House Doctor is a recognized specialist in Indoor Air Pollution as well as Health & Safety in the home. He has performed over 400 indoor environmental evaluations over the past 26 years and has helped hundreds of homeowners make their homes a haven. He is widely known as the originator of T.E.A.M., the scientifically proven approach to controlling and resolving indoor air pollution.

80% Of Allergies Linked To Household Dust Mites

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Sinus Allergy Relief


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sinus-allergyMillions of people are familiar with the stuffiness and painful pressure of sinusitis, one of the most common chronic ailments.

Your sinuses are air-filled pockets located above your eyebrows, under your eyes, between your eyes, and behind your nose. Normally, mucus from your sinuses drains into your nose and down your throat, where stomach acids destroy it. When your sinuses clog up, the tissues swell, and mucus does not drain prop­erly. This results in a buildup of mucus, which can quickly become infected.

The symptoms of sinusitis include a stuffy or runny nose, painful pressure around your eyes, earaches, and coughing which becomes worse when lying down. It is usually caused by bacterial infection. People with asthma or allergies are more likely to have sinusitis. It may also be brought on by environmental factors such as pollution, cigarette smoke, and weather conditions. Many people find that their sinusitis is worse right before a storm. Some people may have a deviated septum, which means the wall of bone and cartilage between the right and left nostrils is crooked. This can interfere with mucus drainage.

Steps to Stop Sinusitis

  • Wash your sinuses out with a neti-pot or sinus rinse product using a balanced saline solution.
  • Get the right amount of sleep. Too much or too little sleep may make you more likely to suffer from sinusitis. Sleeping with your head elevated may also help. If you only have sinusitis on one side, try sleeping on the other side. This may help open your nasal passageway.
  • Change your diet. You may have food allergies which could trigger your sinusitis. Try eliminating foods like wheat, milk, or red wine. Spicy foods like garlic, horseradish, and cayenne pepper may help clear sinuses.
  • Use a nasal spray. Saline nasal sprays help moisten and soothe nasal pas­sages. Over-the-counter nasal decongestant sprays should not be used for more than three days in a row. A rebound effect may occur if you use them too much, which means your symptoms will get much worse when you stop using them.
  • Exercise. Most people with sinusitis find that exercise opens nasal passages by increasing the flow of mucus. However, some people may find that exercise makes their symptoms worse.
  • Make sure your glasses fit. Improperly fitting glasses can pinch the bridge of your nose and cause congestion.
  • Inhale steam. Breathing in steam may help. You can add pine oil, eucalyptus, or menthol for a little extra nasal-opening power. A warm facial pack (hot tow­els) can have the same effect.
  • Use a humidifier. A humidifier may prevent your sinuses from becoming dry and irritated, which could lead to swelling and infection. A humidifier is partic­ularly helpful during the colder months.
  • Use a HEPA air purifier and HEPA vacuum to reduce the amount of airborne allergens in your indoor air. Regular use of HEPA technology can drastically improve allergies symptoms in a home environment.
  • About the author:
    Stan K. Hall has been a recognized specialist in indoor air pollution for 25 years and has performed over 400 in-home environmental evaluations. He has been recommended by doctors, nutritionist’ as well as other health professionals for his expertise in diagnosing and remediating sick houses. He has more information about indoor air quality on his official Sick House Doctor website.

    Medical Sources:American Family Physician (53,3:877)
    The Asthma and Allergy Advance (January/February 1994)

    How to Use a Neti Pot

Allergy Control Tips


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nasal-allergyControlling allergies is a huge subject that is always under scrutiny by the millions of allergy sufferers who wake up daily with this chronic condition.

Here are some important allergy control tips:

1. Try to figure out what you are allergic to: pollen, grass, hay, dust, house mites, etc. Then try to stay away from the things that trigger your symptoms. You’ll probably never be able to completely get away from them, but you can try and minimize your exposure.
2. If your allergens (the things you are allergic to) are located outside (pollen, grass, etc.), then stay inside as much as you can during the seasons that disturb you the most (early spring, etc.). Keep your doors and windows closed and run the air conditioner. If possible, put an air filter system on your air conditioner so that it filters dust and pollen from the air as it cools it. Also try using a dehumidifying machine if your climate is very humid. A cool, low-humidity environment also helps prevent dust mites (a common allergen) from growing. The cool air also helps prevent household molds from growing (many people are allergic to molds).
3. Always use your air conditioner in your car, and avoid riding with the windows down or in a convertible.
4. Keep your pets outdoors as much as possible. If you allow them inside, keep them from getting on the furniture and going into your bedroom.
5. Use a HEPA vacuum for all dust related cleaning in the indoor environment of your home.
6. Use a HEPA air purifier in the rooms of your home you spend the most time in.

Medical Source: U.S. Pharmacist (17,7:38)

To learn more about how to make your home a allergy-free haven, please sign up for our sponsor’s Free 10-Part Email Mini-Course on this page or click here to read more.

Nose Woes – Tips for Allergy Sufferers

Dust Mite Allergy


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DustMitesA dust mite allergy is actually a hyper-sensitivity reaction to proteins found in the feces of dust mites. These proteins may attack the respiratory airways causing mild to severe allergic reactions and even asthma. House dust mites are found most homes around the world.

Microscopic Dust Mites

Dust mites are microscopic organisms that thrive in warm and humid environments such as furniture and bedding materials. Their favorite food is human skin flakes and animal dander. Since human actually shed thousand of skin flakes everyday and dogs, cats and other household pets shed dander daily, dust mites never run out of food.

As we inhale large quantities of dust mite protein allergens, the body produces antibodies in the form of a chemical compound known as histamine. Histamine is what causes an allergic reaction and can lead to swelling and irritation of the upper respiratory passages. It is believed that dust mites allergies are one of the primary causes of childhood asthma symptoms and the predisposition for this allergy is often hereditary.

Unlike pollen, dust mites are present all year round causing constant allergic reactions. The excretion from the mites dries out and can become airborne when someone walks over a rug, sits down in a chair or shakes the bed clothes, creating immediate symptoms in allergic people.

Controlling Dust Mites

The best tool controlling these microscopic dust mites is the HEPA (High Efficient Particle Air) vacuum. The certified HEPA vacuum cleaner (or central vacuum system) is the best dust, skin flakes and dust mite removing device over which you have total control. You decide what surfaces you vacuum and when. Any other vacuum filter is potentially a vacuum polluter and only recycles the microscopic dust which can be responsible for many respiratory allergies and asthma.

About the author:
The Sick House Center is a resource and information center about indoor air pollution and other related subjects. Read about Indoor Allergies Prevention at the Sick House Center.

How to Cure Dust Allergies

Wool Allergy


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wool allergyI think I’m allergic to wool. What are allergic reactions to wool and what should I expect?

Best Answer:

Allergy doctors agree that a true wool allergy is rare. However, persons who are “allergic to wool”  will attest that they experience allergic reactions when they come in contact with wool.

Persons who have a wool allergy which try on a sweater for example state that the scratchy itch is so immediate and so miserable; they must take it off immediately!

Is experiencing the itch a wool allergy? Most allergy doctor believe that some people are more prone to experience irritation from wool, but that doesn’t always mean it is a true allergic response. However for people with atopic dermatitis or eczema, those same doctors will recommend the avoidance of wool, because of it’s irritating tendency.

Other Wool  Allergies

Lanolin which can be found in many personal care products is actually wool alcohol, extracted from wool. Many people with known wool allergies will also have a tendency towards any contact with lanolin.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology states that a chronic allergy sufferer will experience respiratory allergies from wearing wool. However, their research indicates that this is not from the wool itself but rather from other allergens in or in the wool.

Wool Allergy Relief

Unfortunately, there are no silver bullets to protect you from a wool allergy other than avoidance. In the old days, people wore wool because they beleived it kept them warmer, but there are many synthetic alternatives to wool that do not show to cause allergic reactions.

About the author: Dana Jacobs is a dress designer in New York City.

KDTV 207 – Yarn for People with Wool Allergies

Foam Allergies


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foam allergiesAllergies relating to foam has grown over the past 50 years as this soft, flexible material has found it’s way into furniture and bedding.

Is Foam an Allergen?

The primary reason why foam may be an allergen is because of off-gassing of chemicals used in the manufacturing process. Foam products may emit volatile organic compounds (VOC) vapors from chemicals used during their manufacture.

Most foam products are oil-based and may contain PolyBrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE) which are widely used as a flame retardant. PBDE’s have already been banned in Europe and future “to be banned” list in a few states in the United States. California banned the sale of  furniture and bedding products containing PBDE’s in 2008. PBDE’s are believed to accumulate in human body tissue and may pose future health issues.  This has lead to concerns they might be carcinogenic.

Foam found in traditional mattress and furniture products is ALWAYS in a state of breaking-down and out-gassing. As a result, chemical compounds can be measured from foam products during their lifetime depending on various environmental conditions such as heat and moisture.

Organic or natural latex mattresses are recommended for persons wishing to avoid products which contain PBDE’s.

About the author:

John Davis Smith owns and operates a bedding store in Los Angeles, California which specializes in hypoallergenic bedding products.

Before You Buy a Bed Pillow

Environmental Allergies


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environmental-allergiesThere has been much confusion over what causes allergies in the home for many years. Health-care practitioners may tell their patients that it is the outdoor pollutants which really cause their allergies whereas in-home air purifier manufacturers may claim just the opposite.

The fact of the matter is both outdoor and indoor pollutants can cause allergy symptoms. However, indoor pollutants have been shown to actually present a greater problem to long-term allergy sufferers. To start with, people spend more time indoors than out and the indoor pollutants are actually smaller than their outdoor counterparts. Indoor pollutants can actually split up and become smaller particles which are more likely to be breathed deeply into the lung and nasal cavities. In effect, the smaller the particle, the greater likelihood of that particle causing an allergic reaction.

Leading Causes of Environmental Allergies

Small sub-micron particles ranging from household dust to dust-mite feces are a leading cause of environmental allergies. Small particles of mold, pollen and cat dander can also aggravate allergy symptoms in children and adults. Even chemicals found in the following common household products have all shown to cause upper respiratory illness symptoms in children which have chronic allergies:

  • Adhesives
  • Air fresheners
  • Carpeting
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Cosmetics
  • Drapes
  • Dyes
  • Floor finishes
  • Furniture polishes
  • Household cleaners
  • Paint

Mold Allergy Symptoms and Causes

Many people believe that mold growth which is visual to the human eye is the only mold which can cause allergy symptoms. However, small mold particles are responsible for over 90% of mold allergy symptoms. Mold particles are everywhere in the outdoor and indoor environment. It is the combination of mold particle size to the quantity found in a cubic foot of indoor air which most aggravates allergies. Each cubic foot of indoor air in a home or building can contain millions of particles. These indoor particles are commonly measured in microns, a metric unit of measure. There are 25,400 microns in one inch. Approximately 98-99% of all particles by count of indoor air are in the sub-micron size range of 10 microns or less in size. These sub-micron particles are known as “respirable” and are invisible to the naked eye. The average adult may breathe in as much as 16,000 quarts of air whereas children under the age of 12 can breathe in as much as 10,000 quarts. Each quart of air breathed in contains some 70,000 visible and invisible particles. That’s potentially a billion particles per day taken in by our respiratory system.

Individuals who are hypersensitive or have a predisposed reaction to these sub-micron particles may have an acute allergic reaction. These allergy-causing airborne particles which remain in the home environment for extended periods of time are the primary cause of chronic allergy symptoms in children and adults.

Allergy Induced Asthma

Allergy induced asthma is the term used primarily by health care practitioners to describe persons which are at a higher risk of developing asthma because of their chronic allergic disposition. This is because the inflammatory and sensitization responses of allergy and asthma sufferers are quite similar. Family history usually plays a role in diagnosing allergy induced asthma.

The good news is that the indoor home environment can be made a haven for all allergy and asthma sufferers by implementing the proper technology combined with proper knowledge. In today’s world of technological advances, there is no reason for a child or adult to suffer with allergies while at home.

Related Post: Dust Mite Allergy.

About the author:
The Sick House Center is a resource and information site about indoor air pollution and other related issues. Read their Indoor Pollutant Fact Sheet here.

House Dusting : Controlling Dust Mites

Carpet Allergies


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carpet-allergiesIndoor air pollutants are a major cause of allergic symptoms among allergy sufferers. Not only that, but these irritants can have severe health consequence. Unhealthy levels of pollutants can lead to a variety of health problems, including respiratory problems and asthma.

Studies have shown that the indoor air quality can be up to five times more harmful to your health than the air found outdoors. Given that many people spend about 90% of their time indoors, this means that most of us are extremely vulnerable to these poor conditions. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stated that indoor air pollution is one of the top five most urgent environmental risks to the public.

Several studies have shown the home carpets that contains the second highest concentration of allergens in the home. Vacuuming removes only a small part of these irritants. Then, What can you do to help protect themselves from these harmful conditions in their own home? Regular carpet cleaning is the only way to significantly decrease the amount of dust mites, pollen, mold spores, fungi, pet dander and other irritants in your carpet.

Business professional carpet cleaning using multiple methods to clean the floor. While dry cleaning is the safest method when it comes to reducing allergens in your carpet is also one of the least effective. The hot water extraction, more commonly known as steam cleaning is the most effective way to remove pollutants and allergens from carpets. However, work, poor or inadequate can leave behind wet or damp carpets, which provide ideal conditions for mold, fungi, bacteria and other irritants to grow and accumulate.

For this reason it is imperative that you choose a qualified carpet cleaning service with experience to carry out routine disinfection of their flats house. Quality companies must take all necessary steps to ensure your carpets are completely dry and free of moisture after the process is complete. Many companies use industrial fans to help dry the carpet and water uptake depth. Proper extraction methods are very efficient hot water to make your home a healthier place to live for the removal of dust, pollen, germs, bacteria and other allergens. If you or someone in your family suffers from allergies, be sure to find a quality service to perform routine cleaning of the carpets of his house, which should be done every 6-12 months.

Mr. Jason Oliver is a marketing agent of Absolute Carpet Care, a carpet cleaning company which provides services throughout the Northern Virginia and Washington DC areas.

Carpet & Allergies : Treating Allergies

Feather Allergies


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feather-allergy While feather pillows are not as common in the home as they were 50 years ago, there are still found in bedrooms all across the world. Some people just prefer a feather pillow because they are softer and for other for various reasons. Feather pillows are also believed to be more beneficial for injured and pregnant women because they put less pressure on the body and conform more easily to one’s needs.

Even though many feathers pillows are sold as  ‘hypoallergenic down’ material, they may still cause allergic reactions to individuals depending the the source of the feather and whether or not they were properly cleaned prior to manufacture. A hypoallergenic down product indicates that the pillow has a breathable inner protective shell.  Many manufacturers state that their down pillows are machine washable but it is not recommended if there are allergy sufferers in the household.

Low quality feather pillows can shed loose feathers thus creating a greater potential of allergies to those present.  Given the fact that quality comes with a price, a superior quality pillow should last for years with less problems.

Care Tips for a Feather Pillow:

  • Because feather pillows are organic, they must be kept it in hygienic condition and should always be encased in a protective cover.
  • A feather pillow must be hand washed using a minimal amount of biodegradable detergent. Even though feathers have a natural tendency to repel water they should never be subjected to excess moisture.
  • Feather pillows in particular should be kept in a washable outer liner and should be cleaned each time sheets are washed.

About the Author: Samantha Davies owns a boutique in Chicago which specializes in fine household bedding products.

How To Get a Hotel Room Without Feather Pillows

Dust Allergies


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dust-allergiesIs anyone else allergic to dust?

I moved to Dubai from Canada a few years ago, I developed allergies to dust after living in Dubai 1 year, I returned to Canada for vacation for 3 months and has yet to experience an allergic reaction, and when I started sneezing in Dubai again. Canada my home is very clean im not sure has a lot of dust, but not yet i react to what could be the reason for the mites dust could in part of the world is different from another.

House dust is generally not an allergen. However, dust mites or specifically, its waste and decomposing bodies, the introduction of proteins to which many people are allergic. A large majority of household dust is actually human skin shed. Dust mites feed on the dead skin. Moisture levels in Dubai are very high and higher humidity causes mold and mildew fungi in such things as leaves, straw, dried grass and other vegetation that thrives on moisture. Mold spore count therefore becomes very high, the problems that cause allergic reactions in humans that are sensitive to mold. It could be mold spores that are sensitive to both dust mites.

Related Post: Dust Mite Allergy.

Source: Yahoo Answers

Reducing Allergies at Home : Reducing Allergies: Dust Mites in Curtains